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school budgets

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Voting on school budgets and board candidates in this year's election has undergone a number of changes due to the coronavirus.

Some area school officials are worried that confusion about the process could affect the outcome of budget votes.

Normally, voting would occur in May with the results known soon after ballots were cast. But, COVID-19 has changed shool budget voting with Governor Andrew Cuomo ordering school budget and board candidate voting to be done only by absentee ballot.

School budget votes in New York state have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order delaying school board elections and budget votes statewide until June 9. Usually, those votes are held in mid-May.

And the governor said that the school votes will all be conducted by mail, and all qualified voters will be sent an absentee ballot. The New York State School Boards Association said it has been looking for clarity on the issue since many districts have a fiscal year that begins July 1.

James Brown / WXXI News

With the possibility of 800 layoffs at the end of the school year the Rochester City School District and community members are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. 

The Rochester School Board approved its 2018-19 budget on Tuesday night. The more than $900 million spending plan adds a number of positions including some for special education, one area the district has been concentrating on shoring up.

There are also additional positions for other areas including bilingual education.

The budget does close what was originally a $65 million gap, and that was accomplished with the help of money from the districts unrestricted fund balance.

It appears all spending plans were approved in the budget votes taken in Monroe County and nearby communities on Tuesday.

That includes a budget that will see Pittsford implement full-day kindergarten. Pittsford is one of the few districts across the state that does not provide that program.

In the first half of the program, we have a pre-recorded interview with Congressman Tom Reed. In the second half of the show, we look at what a "no" vote in yesterday's school budget means for some districts. We talk with West Irondequoit Superintendent Jeff Crane; his district was one of only a few that is dealing with a rejected budget.